Q I seek your assistance with understanding a regulation recently implemented by the Board of Trustees at the Esplanade in Hudson, MA, where my husband and I reside. Specifically, the Board of Trustees is requiring that unit owners provide the following, as shown in their new regulation:
To reserve the café or patio, the homeowner must also provide a certificate of insurance from their homeowner's insurance policy, listing The Esplanade Trust as an additional insured. The certificate is to be issued to The Esplanade Trust, c/o Janek Property Management, 76 Emmons Street, Franklin, MA 02038. This important document is required before a unit owner will be allowed to reserve the café or patio. This is necessary to protect the association from lawsuits. This document covers an individual event so a Unit Owner would need to provide a separate certificate for each use of the café or patio.
When I asked my insurance agent to provide the requested, the response was that an event policy covering a single day was what I needed to purchase, in addition to my regular homeowner's policy, the agent indicated that it is not possible to simply declare the Esplanade Trust as an additional insured.
The Board of Trustees produced a document as proof that other unit owners are complying with this new regulation. I assert that the document merely shows the Board of Trustees that this resident has homeowner's insurance.
Would the Esplanade's Master Policy be the appropriate, and only necessary, coverage for use of a common area?
Is it, indeed, possible for the Esplanade Trust to simply be added as an additional insured on my policy?
A The aforementioned certificate indicates that owner has an HO-6 policy with Arbella,” according to James W. Higgins, ARM, CIC, LIA, senior vice president of business insurance with Rogers & Gray Insurance. “Under the remarks, there is no indication that the condominium association has been added as an “additional insured.” The certificate has been issued to The Esplanade Trust but I see no evidence that the unit holder is in compliance with the request that was part of the regulation with respect to the reserving of the café. The Esplanade Trust wants to put any unit holder that reserves the café in “first” position if there is any liability that arises from the use of the café by a unit holder. You are correct in your assertion that the aforementioned document only “shows the Board of Trustees that this resident has homeowner’s insurance.”
In answer to your specific questions:
1.The master policy would not be the only appropriate coverage for the common area if the Board of Trustees has deemed the café to increase their exposure by permitting use by individuals and their guests.
2. If you insurance company agrees to accept the exposure, then yes, adding the Esplanade Trust as an additional insured could be enough to satisfy the Board of Trustees.